Jonathan Simons

Hollow diversity promises shouldn’t be taken on faith

Jonathan Simons, head of education at thinktank Policy Exchange, writes weekly about policy and education

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In the year 597, the first school in England was set up as part of Canterbury Cathedral. Just 1,283 years later, the 1880 Elementary Education Act mandated attendance at a (church) school between the ages of 5 and 10.

The 1902 Balfour Act created the first Local Education Authorities, and it wasn’t until the 1944 Butler Act – almost 1,350 years since the church had been in the game – that the state funded compulsory schooling for all until 15.

So I do find it a little rich when people say that our country’s religious institutions shouldn’t have any role in education. The sibling defence of ...

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